Saturday, May 21, 2011

How to be beautiful

One of my favorite greeting cards reads "For your birthday I was going to get you a day of beauty for $175. But all I could afford was a day of relatively attractive for $35."

Just a couple of weeks ago I went to the movies with my wife and my travel companion, my wheel chair. While there a woman approached me and much to my surprise said "You're beautiful. Oh my God, you are beautiful" and then began to awkwardly apologize. She went on to explain that she wasn't used to seeing attractive people in a wheelchair, but I think she was saying much more than that.

I am not beautiful. There are no beauty pageants in my future. No one has ever come up to me and said that before. What she was really confessing was that her image of a person in a wheelchair was of someone 'unattractive'. That a wheelchair somehow suggested a deformity or disfigurement and thankfully, I don't have either of those. What I do have, and many of us with disabilities have, is to have combat those expectations of being unattractive, deformed, mentally incompetent (STUPID), hard of hearing or somehow less than ``the more able bodied occupants of our planet'.

So let me tell you what I do. I smile at people and say hello. I start conversations with strangers. I make it a point to be seen as the happy guy in the wheelchair….whether at the movies, the grocery store, the doctors office or the airport. Some of the places we go to regularly know me for that and if I have somehow changed their expectations of a guy in a wheelchair, than the world is a nicer place and we are all better off.

Do smiling, saying hello and being friendly make someone more attractive? I think so and apparently the woman at the movie theater thought so too.

Whether in a wheelchair or not, become known as the happy guy. Change people's expectations of how people are and how you are. Smile, say hello, ask a stranger "how are you today" and see what happens.

My guess is that before too long, someone will tell that you are beautiful

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ten things to learn from Japan

I received this e-mail the other day and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you think so too.


Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has
been elevated.


Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude
gesture. Their patience is admirable and praiseworthy.


The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn't fall.

4. *THE GRACE (Selflessness) *

People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could
get something.


No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just


Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will
they ever be repaid?


Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared
for the weak.


The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did
just that.


They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters.
Only calm reportage. Most of all - NO POLITICIANS TRYING TO GET CHEAP


When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the
shelves and left quietly.

With their country in the midst of a colossal disaster - The world can learn much from the citizens of Japan.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.